AC Celebrates World IP Day 2016

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This April 26th, American Commitment is once again celebrating World IP Day.  The theme this year is centered around the role that intellectual property plays in the future of culture in a digital age – and why it is so important to preserve a balanced and flexible intellectual property system.

As technologies have changed and improved, the protection of intellectual property has become increasingly difficult, but remains incredibly important. Goods formerly only available through tangible means – books, music, movies – are now available via the Internet. This type of innovation improves our lives and increases the positive economic impact of such works, but also represents a challenge. How do we build a system that promotes growth, innovation, and creativity while simultaneously protecting the creator – and encouraging them to continue creating? This is also incredibly important in the technology and medical sectors, where innovation is costly and absolutely must continue.

Various avenues exist. One of the most successful has been voluntary initiatives pursued by the private sector themselves. Just last year a global investment management company – Group M – announced it would require their media partners to receive anti-piracy certification. The Copyright Alert System – designed to engage and educate consumers about the use and distribution of digital environment content - is also working. These examples of free-market successes are models for future protection.

We would also encourage legislators to educate themselves and remain vigilant as legislative initiatives are pursued, being sure to consider the potential economic and innovative impacts before choosing sides and taking action.

IP-intensive industries now make up over 1/3 – or 38 percent of the US economy, employ over 40 million Americans – hundreds of millions worldwide, and compensate their workers approximately 30 percent more than their counterparts in non-IP industries. Clearly, this is an issue that cannot be ignored, but must be handled carefully as the impact of IP-intensive industries is only expected to grow over the next decade. If we want to continue to experience the levels of advancement that we have benefitted from over the past few decades, we must allow innovators to continue to do what they do best – innovate.